An aromatic herb, Mint (Mentha longifolia) has been used for a wide variety of purposes including culinary, household, and medicinal. It is also known by the names mentha, Wild Mint, balderjan, and inzinziniba. Mentha longifolia is a hardy perennial that grows as tall as three feet and spreads to an equal length. In dry or unfavorable conditions, it grows to a shorter height. The leaves have a coarse texture with edges that are a bit prickly to the touch. Mint grows quickly, creeping along the ground to which it is anchored by an underground root system. The leaves, which do not have stalks, are generally light to dark green, but may even appear to have a gray coloring.
Once the plant reaches full maturity, it produces small flowers at the tip of the stems. The flowers are clustered into spikes and vary in color from mauve to white. Flowering typically occurs throughout the summer months and perhaps into the fall, depending on weather conditions and location. Mentha longifolia flowers contain both male and female parts (hermaphroditic), and pollination occurs through insect activity. Mint plants are useful when a desire to attract wildlife exists. Additionally, mint deters rodents from going into any area where it is prevalent and harmful insects from attacking garden plants. While mint attracts butterflies and bees, it deters insect pests.
Mint plants are best grown in moist soil that can be acidic, basic, or neutral in pH. It grows well in sandy, loamy, or clay soils, while also having the ability to flourish in soil that is hardened with a high consistency of clay because the roots are strong enough to penetrate the soil. Mint grows well in both sunny and partially sunny conditions. Able to resist frost, Mentha longifolia grows throughout the world in many different locations. Available in many varieties, aromatic mint plants are highly prized for their refreshing scents and ease of cultivation.
Mint delivers a refreshing flavor that has been included in formulas for candy, jelly, tea, and gum. Mint leaves are used in cooking to flavor main dishes as well as being used for decorative garnishes for many culinary dishes. Mint may be consumed raw or cooked. Its aromatic flavor and scent are commonly used to flavor salads, teas, and chutneys. Many varieties of mint are available, but popular types include those offering peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, and apple mint scents/flavors. It has also been used as a natural deodorizer for both the kitchen and bathroom.
Mint contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to prevent environmental and physiological damage to the body as well as aiding in soothing the skin from minor irritations and inflammations. Containing natural antibacterial capabilities, mint is useful in helping to prevent blemishes and acne breakouts from occurring as well as in the prevention of foot odor. Therefore, it is often found in acne treatments and foot products. The inclusion of mint in acne treatments is exceptionally good for oily skin types.
Due to the invigorating, refreshing scent offered by mint, it is often used in bath products for home use as well as at spas. Not only is mint included to energize the individual, but it is also added to bath products to assist in alleviating the discomfort associated with sore muscles. Mint is sometimes used in shaving products to help prevent ingrown hairs. It softens and hydrates the skin.
Essential oil of mint has been attributed with the following capabilities: carminative (offers relief from intestinal gas), stimulant (invigorates physiological activity), antispasmodic (controls involuntary muscle spasms), and anti-asthmatic (delivers relief from symptoms associated with asthma). Traditionally, wild mint has been used to help heal wounds and minimize scarring.
Mint has often been used as an herbal remedy since it is considered to provide beneficial capabilities in treating various maladies, most particularly disorders of the stomach. Throughout time, people have chewed on sprigs of mint not only to freshen the breath, but also to ease stomach upset. The essential oil that is extracted from mint offers a refreshing scent that is utilized in many products including toothpaste, mouthwashes, dental rinses, breath mints, candy, and chewing gum. Mint is included in teas to promote the relief of discomfort associated with colds, asthma, headaches, indigestion, stomach cramps, and flatulence.